Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Crochet Spiral Scarf revisited

I have just had crochet on the brain for the past week, literally. Dreams and all. So I have been doing a lot of "swatching" regarding this scarf and came up with some of good parameters:

  1. Single Crochet (SC) makes a more spirally effect than Double Crochet (DC), even if you start off the first set of rows with SC and then switch the next set of rows to DC.
  2. If you end on an increase row it will give a lacier effect to your scarf. This is especially true with DC if you are using a fine mohair. If your mohair is weightier you still get a nice lacy effect, but it's a little heavier.
  3. The edge will get more ruffly (not spirally) if you 5 Shell into every other stitch (SC, 5 Shell repeat) for the final row. This is not really the case with a 3 Shell, though. It's a lot more work for a little effect. The 5 Shell will make the edge of the scarf heavier looking and you will lose some of the lacy effect mentioned above. (see picture)
  4. If you want double the ruffle, then pick up more stitches on the "caston" side of the scarf and Slip Stitch into every chain. Then just work like the other side. If you want to do a two color ruffled scarf, then here's your chance. Although I think this is a little excessive.

Edging of scarf with a 5 DC shell

So there was another scarf similar to the Spiral Scarf, but I didn't realize it at the time since I was a non-crocheter when I first saw it. This scarf was designed by Kim Hargreaves and called Flourish from her Winter Blooms Collection. Anyway I had been drooling over it, but pretty much forgot about it since I didn't know how to crochet. Plus the kit was expensive. Well, I think I can replicate something like it now. I think I understand the edging she used, even with the beads. I'll be working on that this week and may have something to share sometime soon if anyone is interested.

Update: Last night at my Stitch and Bitch I think came up with a close match to Flourish. I swatched with a chain of 21 using some soft acrylic that someone gave me a while ago. Use your imagination and pretend that it is kidsilk haze in blushes. ;-)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Spiral Scarf ala Single Crochet

Yesterday as I was crocheting a scarf (I learned how from the crochet goddess at my local Stitch'N Bitch on Wednesday night) and I noticed that my first chain was too tight or I made too many crochets on my first row or something because it had started to spiral. And I thought, "hey that's kinda of cool. I wonder if I should do it on purpose." and kept on crocheting.

This morning I was reading through the threads on KR and came upon the stash busting spiral scarf thread and thought that's it exactly! It would be sooo much easier to crochet this. So I commented on this thought and other people were interested too.

So I tried it out this afternoon and this is the pattern that I came up with:

Spiral Scarf ala Single Crochet


  • ~ 300 yards of mohair or yarn of your choice. I used Ironstone Wharehouse (78% Mohair, 13% wool, 9% Nylon)
  • US P or 11.5 mm crochet hook
  • tapestry needle


  • 7 1/3 feet in length
  • 3 inches in width (with spiral seems like more)


  • Chain 101 or whatever length you feel is right for a scarf ( I actually just chained until it was as long as my couch which is my minimum scarf length measure around here. )
  • First Row: single crochet (sc) across 100 stitches
  • Second Row: increase 1 sc into every stitch (200 sts)
  • Repeat first and second rows 2 more times (800 sts) or until desired effect is achieved
  • Weave in ends


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My First Felted Bag - part tres

Yesterday I was looking in my closet for a bag for my knitting and pulled out my first felted bag. It had been stored there for the summer (the heat and all) but the truth of the matter is that I wasn't happy with it. It needed to sit in the closet for a while.

Now I jumped into felting with a reckless abandon. This bag was made without a swatch, without a pattern, and with bits and pieces and balls of yarn that I no longer had the wrappers for. I had size 13 circulars and a lot of zeal.

I cast on for the bottom and used some LP bulky and leftover Rowan Polar in a slip stitch pattern with some striping. It looked very nice to me . So I built up the sides using a bunch of scrap yarn including some from the first two skeins of yarn I ever bought. I knew that everything was wool as I have been a wool purist since I started knitting.

I like all the colors I was using but was a little confused about whether or not I should be using one or two strands of yarn, especially if I was planning to do fairisle. I was so confused, in fact, that I decided to do both. So in some places the fabric was a little thicker than in others. But I wasn't worried. This was Swatch Bag.

After figuring out how to make straps and everything I was so bag-proud that I had to take Swatch Bag to the laundrymat to felt it right away. I read on KR and other places on the net how to felt a bag. I was armed with a zippered pillow case, laundry soap, and a roll of quarters. I made up my mind to be dilligent and check my bag often and carefully.

So minutes into the hot wash I lift the lid, fish out Swatch Bag with my bare hands (eek), and carry the precious over to the laundrymat sink. I held that bag so carefully, as if holding a new baby and dripped water everywhere on the floor only to discover that not much had happened. Repeat 3 or 4 times with increasing annoyance. Finally when the rinse comes I decide to let it go through. No more checking. Whatever.

I discovered that after the cold rinse a lot more had happened. The bag had started to look felted. So I loving put Swatch Bag back in another wash and determined only the check it right at the start of the rinse cycle. Hello! More progress and no carrying of dripping bag. I ran it through another wash and brought it home.

As I was looking at Swatch Bag I noticed that it really wasn't done. There was still stitch definition in some places and some places just weren't felted. The straps and bottom especially.

I found out why parts of the bottom didn't felt when I bought Pursenalities a couple of days later. I was flipping through the pages and the book opened of its own accord to a certain purse pattern featuring unfelted portions in the design. And lo and behold mine eyes skimmed the phrase, "and that's how I found out that Rowan Polar doesn't felt." Argh!!! Who would have known. Not I and not the author. What to do?

The owner of my LYS told me that flat knit pieces have a more difficult time felting. So I decided to try hand felting the straps at home. What a bunch of work that was and I didn't have very good results. I didn't have gloves so my hands got raw and my back ached from hunching over the bucket I had in the bath tub. I'm not the smartest cookie out there, am I? The next time I attempt something like that I will have a different (better) set up.

I could use Swatch Bag, but after reading some threads at KR I decided to refelt it. So after two or three more washings it was substantially better and I used it for Kung Fu and brining stuff to work. Still the straps weren't what I wanted and the bottom was too loose. Should I line it? Should I felt it more? I put it in the closet.

Today I decided that something needed to be done about the bottom. I got out some Cascade 22o and a tapestry needle and worked that yarn through all the bottom parts. This time I added tennis shoes to wash as well as jeans and let it go for a couple of cycles. After the last spin I noticed that the bottom of the bag was nice and stiff and much smaller overall. Hurray for Cascade 220! And the straps had even felted a little more.

Perhaps the third time was the charm? Though I am going to do a little more hand felting on the straps, it's much more functional now. And that makes me happy. It's my first bag, so it's a little bit mis-shaped and lumpy (if you want to do fair isle you only need to use 1 strand in non-fair isle places). But I really like the colors and pattern. A hug for Swatch Bag. (((((((((((((Swatch Bag))))))))))))

Monday, August 22, 2005

I woke up this morning in a frenzy to frog.

50 rows of Eris went to the frog pond. I haven't been knitting much this week, but put in some time yesterday. I just didn't really like how it looked. So this morning....while I was waiting for the coffee to brew....ribbit, ribbit, ribbit....

I was reading some comments on the yahoo groups eris KAL. Other people were also using Andean Silk and one person gave a warning about cable splay. This person suggested using a cable needle that was smaller than the knitting needle. I am not really sure what spalying is, but I wasn't in love with how my cables were looking so I think that must be it. Okay I just had to google "cable splay" and I don't think that was my problem. Cable splay is a flaring out of the knitted fabric. My problem was more like sloppy knitting. ;) But I was using a needle 1 size larger for the cables. Anyway I decided to try different needles. My swatch on 5's wasn't really to gauge but I just didn't want to go down any farther. I'm stubborn that way. So I will be swatching again on 3's.

Something that worries me now is that maybe this wasn't the best yarn choice for a cabled sweater. I REALLY liked knitting with Jaeger Shetland Aran. It cabled beautifully and was very easy to knit with. One reason I chose this particular yarn was that the caption below the picture of lettuce said "lovely for cables" or some such sweet sounding phrase. Ah, I think KP's knows how to seduce the knitter. I think I am just feeling a little blue.

I want to say a big, "Thank You!" to the people that have left comments on my blog this week. You rock! Seriously. It was nice to get some feedback/encouragement. I have recently started going to a S'n B in my area and that has been great, too. It's nice to be able to associate with people who share my passion. So, Thanks again!


Meanwhile I have been working on the cable ande rib socks. I think I will omit one of the cable repeats on the cuff as I feel that they are already long enough and I am not looking for knee-hi's! These were great for practicing cabling without a needle. I can't wait to get to the heel as I have never done a short row heel before. I think my next sock endeavor will be toe up. That seems interesting.

Right before I left to buy a new needle for Eris I saw that somehow one of my needles got broken! Something really crunched it and I have no idea how ??????? Sniff, sniff, sniff. This was my second set of sock needles evah. I can't believe that I have had these for 10 years and now one breaks. I couldn't find Brittany's today, so I bought clover bamboo. I hope they will knit up more or less the same.

Kung Fu has been more low key for me lately. I have a shoulder injury and haven't been working out as much. I'm still going to claSS 4 times a week and working out at home just not as intensely. Though I have been keeping up with the weights. Plus I am a little knitting obsessed at the moment.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The yarn arrived!!!

Yesterday the Andean Silk from KP came! I have to say that I am very impressed with how soft this yarn is. It knits up very nicely, though is a little drapier than I imagined. The color is nice, though I was expecting it to be a little lighter. Still I am very happy with the yarn so far.

I've started knitting swatches for the Eris Cardigan. The first (of many I fear) I knit with size 7 bamboo circulars. The bottom portion I knit in K continental and P throw. It's a lot faster for me but with this yarn I am rowing out a little. The top portion is all throw knitting and has much less rowing out. I actually did this to see if the gauge was the same and it is: 5 sts/inch and 6.25 rows/inch. The row gauge is too large. I am supposed to have 7 rows/inch. I know, however, that if I move down a needle size I won't be able to get the stitch gauge which is more important for this part of the sweater.

To get the collar gauge of 8 rows/inch I am going to have to try size 5 needles I think. the only problem is that I am going to have to buy them as I don't own any. I almost bought them for the OSW, but just decided to go with my size 7's instead. Alas, if that doesn't produce the correct gauge I might have to buy another size as I only own big circular needles. Plus it also seems that I am going to have to buy a longer circular needle anyway for the body of the cardie. This is getting really expensive, but I think it will be worth it. I love the pattern so much!

In the meantime I have been working a little on my new cable socks by Nancy Bush. This one is almost ready for the cabling to begin. I'm about to start the second as to avoid SSS.

I haven't been feeling well for a couple of days. I think it's allergies, but my head has been so congested and I have had so much trouble breathing that I am not sure. I left Tai Chi early yesterday because my ears were beginning to ache. As soon as I got home I took an Advil sinus cold tablet and the pressure eased. It also knocked me out and I ended up taking an hour and a half nap which is highly unusual. Today I am just as bad. I went ot do kung fu today, but gave up easily and had coffee instead. I think it was a wise choice, but I still feel like a wussy.

Friday, August 12, 2005

While I am waiting

For the yarn for Eris to arrive from Knit Picks, I have finished and started a couple of projects. I finished the One Skein Wonder shrug. I really liked the way it turned out. The colors are gorgeous. Now it just needs to cool down a little so I can wear it.

Pattern: One Skein Wonder

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden 87

Gauge: 4 sts / inch

Needles: US 8 and 7 circulars 24 inch

Kudos to those folk that manage to take normal looking pictures of themselves in the mirror! Well maybe if I brushed my hair before snapping a photo I could do better? Hmmm...

I am still working on the purse stitch poncho from IW fall by Meema Spadola. I am not in love with it, I just want to use up this yarn. I hate it. LB Suede sucks. It will make a nice xmas present though.

I decided that given where I live I really need to stock up on wool socks for winter, but I wanted to start on something new. So I am doing these socks in a very pretty blue in fingering weight wool. The pattern has cables (boring ones but...) and a short row heel. Woohoo! This should be interesting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Right Speech

The worth of our words is measured by how much they improve the silence.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Not so fair Fairisle?

Socks for my boyfriend
I have FO pictures today that are only a couple years in the making. Seriously I have been working on these socks for years. Not because it's difficult. I just got ultra bored with sock knitting. You see I learned how to knit knitting socks on DPN's. And that is ALL I did for years. Not even a scarf.

So here they are: socks for my BF. Knit on #4 DPN's in Plymouth Galway, I think. It was so long ago I lost the tag/wrap thingy. The gauge on these puppies is 6.5 st/inch. This is worsted weight yarn, ack! I don't want to know what my gauge might be on 1's or 2's. The fabric of the sock is nice and tight, but not stiff. These will be warm winter boot socks. The pattern: there isn't one. I made it up as I knit. In hindsight, I wish I had left out the fairisle bits. They aren't as regular looking as I would like. That will probably go away with washing, but .....

fairisle comparison
This irregularity is really apparent on the inside of the sock. When I knit these I am pretty sure that I changed which hands were holding the strands and it made for sloppy, sloppy floats (though the tension is just fine). Compare it with the inside of the two-handed fairisle sampler purse I made using the Philosopher's Wool pattern and techniques. Weaving as you knit is really the only way to go, and it makes such a much nicer fabric on the outside as well.

One Skein Wonder
Anyway, I have also been working on a One Skein Wonder from Glampyre Knits. This one is in Noro Silk Garden and I love the way it's turning out. I am not very fond of the minimalism of the pattern though. I like more explanation of what's going on. But whatever. It's cute so far. It's also fast. I can picture myself making one or two for xmas presents.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Kung Fu throwdown

The last couple classes have been difficult for me as I have been sick or with super crazy allergies. I am not sure which one, but I am sure that it is seriously interfering with my breathing. I just can't get enough air and have started bringing my inhaler again.

I have a lot of bruises from Thursdays' class. G and M both got me pretty well a couple of times in the leg. But it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately on Saturday I accidentally kicked someone in the groin. I felt so bad. It wasn't hard, but it happened. I just didn't realize how close we were and didn't pull it in time. I really struggle with shame when I hit someone. Stuff like this happens in a martial arts class but it should only be when you want it to happen. Control.

Anyway today I had fun with K. We did a lot of kicking. He taught me how to sweep and throw someone over my shoulder. That was really fun. I want to do more of it.

Knitting: I still have to finish up the cover cardigan from the summer issue of Knit1. It's all knitted. It's just sitting on the table waiting for me to piece it together. I have almost finished some socks that I have been working on for my BF for years. I took them to the stitch'n bitch in town this last week and worked over 20 rows on each one. I just need to finish off the toe!!!! I also have the purse stitch poncho from IW mag to finish, but no real rush. I just want to use up a lone skein of LB suede. I will never buy it again. Patooey! In the midst of all these I casted on for a One Skein Wonder. I just need to use up two odd ball skeins of Silk Garden that I have left over. Speaking of left-overs I have a fabulous plan for a felted bag using the odds and ends that I have tucked away since my last fabulous felted scrap bag. This one is going to rock, not just for the bag but other things as well.

On the horizon: Eris. I have been wanting to knit Rogue for some time, but wanted to get some practice with knots and cables (see FOville post). The other day I went there to once again drool over the Rogue pattern and found this delicious one instead.

I love the knotwork on the collar and the cables for shaping the waist. I really like the cardigan and though I am sewing challenged, I think I might have to rise to occassion for this sweater.

I have ordered yarn from Knit Picks: Andean Silk in Lettuce. I hope it will look like I am picturing it when I open the package. I think a green cardigan would be lovely.
Eris Cardigan/Pullover. Image from the girl from autie website. Click to go to the pattern.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

In the light of day, it's looking a little better

I'm okay pleased with it today. And not embarassed to give it away. I think it will be a cute accessory.

Almost time for kung fu!!!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Not So Vintage Bubble Bag

Not so great in my opinion. This is a gift and I was hoping that I would really love the way it turned out. But there were a few problems. The first is that I attached the handles incorrectly and didn't really notice until after the first wash was through. The second is that I washed and spun this one 3 times and there are still garter ridges. I so hate that look. My instinct has always been to use just one thread of yarn for garter knitting and it has always felted away. I could felt this more, but honestly I don't think they will go away. The third is that I need to shave it. I think it will look a little more crisp when I finish this and attach the flower, etc.